Pope Francis, head of the Roman Catholic Church, appointed two auxiliary bishops to the Archdiocese of Bombay on Wednesday to assist the Archbishop in his pastoral duties.
Father Dominic Savio Fernandes, chancellor of the Archdiocese and judge of the marriage tribunal, and Father John Rodrigues, recently appointed Rector of St Pius College, Goregaon, were appointed as Auxiliary Bishops.
The announcement was made by the Vatican and the Archbishop’s house on Wednesday.
“The appointment came as a pleasant surprise,” said Father Fernandes, 59, who is the chairperson of the priests’ council of the Archdiocese and in charge of the Laity. “As priests, we are always in the service of God, and don’t carry expectations. But it was a surprise to be appointed by the Pope, and I will take up my duties accordingly,” he said.
Father John Rodrigues has earlier been the secretary at the Archbishop’s house, the dean of studies in the seminary, and is currently in charge of the Diocesan programmes for the Year of Faith.
The consecration of the two new Bishops is planned for June 29. Priests can be in the position of Auxiliary Bishops up to the age of 75, after which they have to send in their resignations to the Pope. The previous Auxiliary Bishops were Bishop Bosco Penha and Bishop Percival Fernandez.